Day 17. 65 pages, 29,010 words.
“We’re getting a stand-down message from the Black Honey Wings,” Glorious Providence (Sarcasm) reported, her striped hands flashing over her console. “It has high-level clearance, diplomatic tags, the works. Apparently there are still delicate discussions taking place and both parties require us to hold position and make no overt moves in the interim to exacerbate matters. No command confirmation of that from our people, though,” she added, unnecessarily.
Naturally, W’Tan thought. She tapped on her console and double-checked that their exit sequence was approved and ready. She straightened again. One problem with the command console on this modular was that Skelliglyph absolutely refused to install Six Species compliant furniture – at least on his own stations. The seat and consoles were therefore annoyingly … stumpy.
“As I believe our Chief Tactical Officer would say, things have gone south,” she announced.
“What does that mean?” Providence asked.
“It is a phrase humans use when they’ve created an untenable communication environment,” Stana Pae Segunda replied from the far end of the comms console. “I’m not sure what it has to do with antiquated planetary cartography.”
“Mister Genevieve, take us out,” W’Tan said. “Mister Krader, exit sequence.”
This was a fancy way of saying that they were going to engage their subluminal drive, slice their way free of the main docking connector using a combination of maintenance cutters and exchange shear, disable the enemy’s mechanical and atmospheric infiltration at the other airlocks by use of catching arms and small weapons-fire, and then just fly off as recklessly as possible and do as much bodily harm to the already-damaged enemy starship as possible in the process.
W’Tan would have preferred to have Ghee at the helm, since he’d been the pilot for their initial launch from Pestoria Geo Chrys and had done the job magnificently, and they needed much the same sort of manoeuvre now. Still, Arlin San Genevieve was just as capable of wanton destruction through mishandling of an AstroCorps modular. He was a human, after all.
The floor shuddered, although that was probably less to do with collision or weapons than it was to do with the gravity exchange hiccoughing as they ground it up against the Black Honey Wings’s system. A moment later they were free, the hull of the misshapen starship turning slowly in their main viewscreens.
“Incoming,” Krader announced tensely.
The Black Honey Wings opened fire.